Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Kindness

One of the things CG* HATED about me was my documented inability to leave well enough alone. Of course, this was mostly due to the fact that our definitions of "well enough" were drastically different. For him, it meant that he should rarely have to interact with random strangers. And for me...


I may be shy, and I may be awkward, but I'm also the girl who will talk to people who look like they need help. Of course, in my world, "needing help" means many, MANY different things. It might mean that you look a little sad. It might mean you're asking for directions. It might mean that you're trying to manage your bags and a toddler all alone at the airport. It might actually mean you've locked your child and your keys in your running car in North Carolina in the summertime.*

In any of those situations? I'm your girl. And I will go out of my way to help you.

The reason for this is quite simple: I've been in positions where I needed help, and when I did? People came to my aid.

It's not complicated.

What is problematic, at least to me, is that people so seldom expect others to be kind. It startles them. Acts of kindness have become heroic. They make the news. While it's nice to see kindness recognized, it's sad -- at least to me -- that it's suprising to people, as though we're much more accustomed to a raised fist than an open hand.

This is on my mind because two of my favourite people on the planet are (hopefully, if everything is cooperative) having a baby today. I have heard, several times, that this is a tough world to bring children into. I think, yes, maybe that's true, but then I think this:

It doesn't NEED to be.

Because the world can be full of kindness. You might be rolling your eyes at me -- CG would be -- but it takes very little more than saying to yourself: "Yes, I want to be open to helping other people. Yes, I will make sure to acknowledge that they are just as important as I am. Yes, I am willing to default to patience, even though sometimes it's REALLY HARD."

Sometimes it will be.

But mostly it won't be.

And it will always be worth it.

*The ex, in case you've forgotten or you're new to the party.

**Yes, this happened.


  1. Amen to kindness! Also, we're all pulling for R and S and the baby-to-be today.